Things are really hotting up again… Just when I thought we could get on with our day jobs we have Microsoft doing the biggest U-turn since – well – since the last massive U-Turn, and now we have SABS, the South African Bureau of Standards (The NB to you and me) lodging a formal appeal regarding the proceedings.
I don’t have much time today but here’s a link to the article I picked up from Google Alerts and it contains a scanned PDF of the original letter.
This will, irrespective of the outcome of the appeal process, create a quite lengthy delay to any formal publication of the standard according to the rules I’ve read before. Of course the rules have been broken, and just ignored throughout this whole fiasco so we have to wait and see.
But “Hat’s off to South Africa”.
Damming, direct and demeaning…
ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML Fast Track
Canadian Final Position Statement
Canada has carefully reviewed the results of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML Fast Track Ballot
Resolution Meeting and determined after detailed analysis that Canada will maintain its
Canada notes that major enhancements had been made to ISO/IEC 29500 during the Ballot
Resolution Meeting, but the general quality of the standard was not yet what was expected of
an ISO/IEC Standard, and that there were still too many unknowns.
Canada states that the inappropriate use of the fast track process for this DIS has rendered it
impossible to ascertain whether in fact 29500 meets the standard of quality and correctness
required in an International Standard.
Canada further recommends that the ISO/IEC JTC 1 Fast Track procedures and processes be
reviewed and enhanced to ensure that this situation does not arise again in the future, and
bring disrepute to the whole ISO and IEC International Standards process.
Finally, Canada recommends that the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML Fast Track documents and
materials, plus the enhancements made at the Ballot Resolution Meeting be submitted to
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 as a New Work Item for processing via the normal standards
It’s been leaked…
ISO is furthermore an irrelevance in technology standardisation.
Update: Hello Slashdot, and thanks Bytemark for helping us cope with the traffic!
This isn’t an April fools, there is a PGP signed confirmation here. If you are desperate to see an April Fools article we did one of them too.We just didn’t expect to follow it so quickly with the real thing.
After several late nights in Geneva consuming too much melted cheese and garlic infused bread, the ISO have decided that their bank account balances are just not that important to risk their organisations’ total ruin.
Listening to the hails of protest from around the globe about the skulduggery and corruption that is Microsoft, they decided, after the barrel of grappa was finally emptied, that DIS29500 should be consigned to the cesspit of excrement that already contains Microsoft and their cronies.
Only kidding! April Fool
After many allegations of corruption, vote rigging, ballot stuffing and rule changing the votes have been cast and all that remains is the counting. The official results are arriving in dribs and drabs, prompting more suspicions of irregularities. It seemed neck and neck at first, but then as more results are announced it seems that the the efforts of the community to preserve the last shreds of democratic process may not have been enough. The stakes are high and the world media is watching closely, or as closely as they can since they are barred from entry. Freedom is at stake here, and the future of an entity with $28 billion turnover.
Hang on, world media? But that can’t be OOXML? And why $28 billion? Wikipedia puts Microsoft’s turnover at $51.12 billion.
No, the $28 billion is the GDP of Zimbabwe, who, just for the record, abstained on the OOXML vote. I hope Microsoft are happy they seem to be doing even better than Mugabe. They seem likely to be the proud owners of the worst international standard money can buy. Not sure how Zimbabwe is going to turn out, but I suspect it won’t be peaceful.
When campaigning against a planning decision about a local supermarket people march about with hand painted banners. When campaigning against a new road people build tree houses and don’t wash. When campaigning against animal testing it is traditional to handcuff yourself to the laboratory gates and be dragged away screaming. When campaigning against a redundant and commercially motivated market distorting international standard we wrote words. We held a conference. We wore suits. We handed out information to people who asked for it. Some people waved a few flags. We got branded as disorganised and unprofessional.
I hope that Microsoft won’t lobby governments to use OOXML.
I hope Governments won’t send OOXML documents to their citizens, effectively mandating the purchase of Microsoft software.
I hope the OLPC XO laptop and other Linux based pervasive low cost, low footprint computing devices won’t find themselves locked out of markets where they just don’t have the computing muscle and storage to support OOXML.
I hope that Microsoft won’t exploit the fact that their software is a definitive implementation of the standard (not a reference implementation, because it is closed and you can’t refer to it).
I hope that the Open Source community won’t divert too much effort into supporting this standard.
I hope that Microsoft actually write ODF filters to allow their software to load and save ODF documents demonstrating their belief in “choice in standards”.
I hope the Fast Track process never happens again.
I hope ISO survives, the world needs good standards and an impartial curator of them.
Alex Brown recently blogged about a Tesco planning application in his local area. He describes the local campaign as organised and professional when compared with the noooxml campaign. I somehow don’t think that marching around the CICG wearing hi-vis jackets and waving hand painted banners made out of old sheets would have conveyed a professional image. Be thankful for small mercies Alex.
The continuing lack of coverage in the mainstream media astonishes me. This is one of the most interesting global stories I have ever followed. There are pockets of intrigue everywhere, off the top of my head I can think of interesting things that have happened in Norway, Germany, Malaysia, France, Poland, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Croatia, Kenya, Denmark, Venezula, now perhaps something weird in the UK and lets not forget Sweden where the gloves came off.
To stretch Alex’s metaphor a bit, lets imagine that the East Area Committee consisted of 23 people, 21 voted against Tesco and 2 voted for the extension (one works for Tesco, the other works for a small hand carwash business that washes cars in Tesco carparks). Then lets imagine that 20 of the No voters were then chucked out of the room and a revote held. Now lets imagine that the council is not democratically accountable and it wasn’t even your local council, but one in another country.
Now lets imagine that if the planning goes through then the Tesco will pressure the government to mandate that all groceries sold anywhere must have Tesco lables on them. (They promise that anyone can stick Tesco lables on groceries and sell them and they won’t sue, so that isn’t at all anti-competitive is it?).
Good job this is all make-believe isn’t it.